What Is An Easement Vs An Encroachment?

Real Estate

What Is An Easement Vs An Encroachment?

It doesn’t matter if you are a first-time homebuyer or someone who’s purchased several homes, a lot of these terms in real estate get very confusing. Two common terms that are often misunderstood are encroachments and easements. Both of these play a role when you purchase a home and as a homebuyer, it’s good to understand the difference.

Encroachment- this is a term used in a situation where someone’s rights can be interfering with your property. Here are a couple of examples, it’s very common in Minneapolis to have someone’s garage built 1 foot over the property line onto your property. They are encroaching on your property. This is usually squared away by correcting the legal description of the home. Another example of an encroachment would be fencing. That’s the most common encroachment. However that one can be easily remedied by asking the neighbor to remove the fence and place it on their property.

Easement- there are two main types of easements, the first being a utility easement. Many homes have some type of utility easement typically near the road. It states that a utility company be it gas or electric has access to this area of your property to maintain and repair their service. The other type of easement that’s very common would be an easement to access a body of water or piece of land. So you may own a home that’s on the lake and there is an easement on your property that allows other neighbors in the area to walk along your property to gain access to a lake.

Neither of these are bad things but it’s important when you’re purchasing a home to understand exactly what type of encroachment or easements are on your property. The worst thing is to find out after the fact. In some cases you may not want to purchase a home that has one of these. The biggest one I’ve come in contact with is the latter easement where people can just walk on your property to access a lake.

If you’re looking to purchase or sell home in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Metro area and you have questions, please feel free to contact Tom Sommers at 952-994-7204.


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